Vidal Rubio

By Emily Macrander

As his personnel carrier (PC) drove along a rice field in 1966, Vidal Rubio snapped a photo of the convoy. It was a rare moment of quiet for him in the hectic early years of the Vietnam War.

Suddenly, the tenth vehicle in the line hit a landmine.

Rubio and the other men in his truck were thrown from their seats. The men wondered: Who was hit? How badly damaged were the PCs?

Medical personnel were in the armored personnel carrier that hit the landmine. The explosion was so powerful that it threw the PC onto the PC behind it.

Carmel Sandoval Camacho

By Ajay Patel

Carmel Camacho's father told him as a young boy that, if he was kind to other people, then he would never have trouble getting along with anyone. Camacho took his father's words to heart, working as a medic in the Army, bringing comfort and healing in World War II and the Korean War.

Drafted at age 19, Camacho became part of a 17-man U.S. Army medical unit one year later. He initially served from 1942 to 1946, but his military career spanned World War II through the end of major hostilities with the Korean War armistice in 1953.

Benny C. Martinez

By Jackie Rapp


Benny Martinez was born a helper.


He served as a medic in the Korean War. He taught unruly 6th graders. He once delivered a baby in the back seat of a car. He encourages kids to stay in school and pursue higher education.


“The best thing we can do here is to educate the children,” he said. “There’s nothing better.”


But when Martinez started the first grade in Goliad, Texas, in 1940, he hated school.


Elvira Orta Pardo Lopez

By Karina Valenzuela

Elvira Orta Pardo Lopez's memories of World War II revolve around her brother, Apolonio “Polo” Pardo, Jr., whom she describes as a quiet and serious man.

Polo got as far as the fifth grade before quitting to work on the family farm. Their parents, Apolonio Pardo, Sr. and Felipa Orta Pardo, had emigrated from San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and settled in Goliad, Texas, where they raised three sons and three daughters. All of the children participated in the harvesting of cotton, corn and beans.

James Arthur De Leon

By Angela Macias


With an older brother John already serving in the Army in Europe, James DeLeon was adamant about going to serve his country during World War II.

"My parents were against me joining, but I thought I should do my part," DeLeon said.

His parents finally gave him the permission he needed to join the Marines and went to boot camp. When asked why the he joined the Marines, his answer was simple.

"They were the best," DeLeon said.

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